April 16th, 2009

It’s Contagious

Laura De Veau

My kid sounds like she’s got a 2 pack a day habit. She doesn’t, of course… but thanks to daycare it sure sounds that way.

How do I know it’s daycare? Because Spicy Girl isn’t the only one with the cough … or the runny nose … or the smile.

Eight months ago, when we began the daycare routine, I wasn’t sure there’d ever be smiles. Morning drop-off and evening pick-up were my job. But after a week of crying jags (mine and hers), screams of “don’t go mommy!” and all sorts of hysteria, I made a tearful demand: “I cannot do this alone.”

The hubby came through and adjusted his schedule, and drop-off got a little easier each week. These days, it’s a piece of cake. Spicy Girl is the queen of the Ball. She has bunches of friends. I know this because, when she introduces them to me, she says, “Maya, Friend.” “Jeremy, Friend.” “Amy, Friend.”

People ask, “if you didn’t have to take her to day care, would you?” In September, my answer would have been a resounding “No!” But, now I know that isn’t the case. I’m not that good at being a mom. I need help. I don’t have the patience to do an art project or teach a 2 year old how to use safety scissors. “Sure you do,” my friends say. No, no I don’t.

The reality is that at daycare, she gets wrapped up in a fantasy world of games, story time, dancing, and of course … friends. At home, she would be with me, and I am not that interesting.

Each day, I can’t wait to see the log sheet with her activities, how many diapers were changed (and what kind), and of course, how long the nap was. The nap is what kills me. I couldn’t get her to nap that long if I ran her around for 2 hours and then filled her with turkey and gravy. I used to think this was just another of my shortcomings. But, now I know that she doesn’t want to sleep when she’s with me … she wants to be with me.

Besides the coughs and sniffles, there’s something else that’s contagious at daycare: the smiles. The smile on Spicy Girl’s face at pick-up time will melt your heart. It tells us that she likes daycare. But more-so, that she loves her Mommy and Daddy. And that’s just fine.

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